Admiral Husband Kimmel and Pearl Harbor

This is a second analysis of the subject I posted about in 2006. As you may have suspected, that post was a direct copy of a comment I was directing against another concerning his claims over Pearl Harbor.

The Story Ends

AGAIN AND AGAIN in my mind I have reviewed the events that preceded the Japanese attack, seeking to determine if I was unjustified in drawing from the orders, directives and information that were forwarded to me the conclusions that I did. The fact that I then thought and now think my conclusions were sound when based upon the information I received, has sustained me during the years that have passed since the first Japanese bomb fell on Pearl Harbor.

When the information available in Washington prior to the attack was disclosed to me I was appalled. Nothing in my experience of nearly forty-two years service in the Navy had prepared me for the actions of the highest officials in our government which denied this vital information to the Pearl Harbor commanders.

If those in authority wished to engage in power politics, the least that they should have done was to advise their naval and military commanders what they were endeavoring to accomplish. To utilize the Pacific Fleet and the Army forces at Pearl Harbor as a lure for a Japanese attack without advising the commander-in-chief of the fleet and the commander of the Army base at Hawaii is something I am wholly unable to comprehend.

While I am still able to do so, I feel that I must tell the story so that those who follow may fully realize the imperative necessity of furnishing the naval and military commanders at the front with full and clear information. Only in this way can the future security of our country be preserved.

- Husband Kimmel, former commander of Pearl Harbor’s naval forces

In reply to whether Roosevelt and Pearl Harbor were part of a put up or false flag operation:

Roosevelt was not a very nice man. He had neither Bush’s compassion nor sense of loyalty to those under his command. Roosevelt wouldn’t use his personal power to clear Kimmel’s name, same as what Bush would have done, but unlike Bush, Roosevelt would have been far more likely to actively maneuver against his own officers if he saw a political advantage in it. In fact, Roosevelt ordered a commission headed by a Supreme Court Judge to look into whether Kimmel and the ground force commander were incompetent or not. Given the stories and claims about Roosevelt packing the Supreme Court, this doesn’t have a good taste to it.

There was a reason that intel wasn’t being sent to Kimmel’s command.

What Roosevelt did have was determination and certain iron core leadership qualities that allowed him to be re-elected 3 times as President. That’s four terms, the last one he died on.

When Democrats talk about Bush and his false flag operation, they’re really only using it to gain political power. They take no time to analyze Bush’s character one way or the other, since that subject is irrelevant to the accusation. For those of us that are interested in what actually happened or what will happen, the matter of people’s personalities and their motivations are totally relevant. They cannot be discarded for convenient and expedient political power.

Link

Admiral Kimmel had enjoyed a successful military career, beginning in 1915 as an aide to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He served admirably on battleships in World War I, winning command of several in the interwar period. At the outbreak of World War II, Kimmel had already attained the rank of rear admiral and was commanding the cruiser forces at Pearl Harbor. In January 1941, he was promoted to commander of the Pacific Fleet, replacing James Richardson, who FDR relieved of duty after Richardson objected to basing the fleet at Pearl Harbor.

If Kimmel had a weakness, it was that he was a creature of habit, of routine. He knew only what had been done before, and lacked imagination-and therefore insight-regarding the unprecedented. So, even as word was out that Japan was likely to make a first strike against the United States as the negotiations in Washington floundered, Kimmel took no extraordinary actions at Pearl Harbor. In fact, he believed that a sneak attack was more likely at Wake Island or Midway Island, and requested from Lieutenant General Walter Short, Commander of the Army at Pearl Harbor, extra antiaircraft artillery for support there (none could be spared).

Kimmel’s predictability was extremely easy to read by Japanese military observers and made his fleet highly vulnerable. As a result, Kimmel was held accountable, to a certain degree, for the absolute devastation wrought on December 7. Although he had no more reason than anyone else to believe Pearl Harbor was a possible Japanese target, a scapegoat had to be found to appease public outrage. He avoided a probable court-martial when he requested early retirement. When Admiral Kimmel’s Story, an “as told to” autobiography, was published in 1955, Kimmel made it plain that he believed FDR sacrificed him-and his career-to take suspicion off himself; Kimmel believed Roosevelt knew Pearl Harbor was going to be bombed, although no evidence has ever been adduced to support his allegation.

I prize primary sources more than the opinions and views of numerous other individuals after the fact. Such after the fact people are important and necessary, but never as important or as necessary as hearing the story from those that were involved. Which is why I saved the link to Kimmel’s autobiography he wrote after the end of WWII. Yes, this was a time when disgruntled generals waited until the war was over to air their grievances. How lucky for Roosevelt and the Democrats when they use military generals to attack Bush. Funny how that works. The link goes to his full book, not an amazon page, just so you know.
If you wish to have a fuller appreciation of the situation, simply read all the links here. (I’d prefer you focus more on Kimmel’s primary documents, but that’s my preferences) Another good link is supportive of Kimmel. If you wish to hear my summarization, skip to the bottom.

The commission faulted bad information coming into Washington that placed the bulk of the combined Japanese fleet steaming south from Japan instead of east to Hawaii. It also placed institutional blame on the Departments of the Navy and the Army for failing to share information. But, the bulk of the blame was placed on the shoulders of the military leadership in Hawaii.

The commission charged that the Kimmel and Short ignored the importance of an alleged war warning from Washington and charged that they failed to take sufficient defensive actions. Overall, the two officers were said to be guilty of dereliction of duty. Interestingly, neither officer was court-martialed. Each was allowed to retired at lesser rank.

It is worth noting that President Roosevelt never accepted responsibility for the attack, and certainly never apologized.

History has shown that Admiral Kimmel and General Short were scapegoats for the failure to protect against the Pearl Harbor attack. There was information available warning of this attack, and that information was not provided to either officer. The US had decoded Japanese radio message traffic informing of the impending attack. Admiral Kimmel has said he believes that those who knew of this message traffic knew a war with Japan was inevitable, and therefore chose to withhold it. He charges that those who knew included the president, his key cabinet officials, and the senior military leadership in Washington. He has further charged that these men did not tell the military commanders in Hawaii because they feared these commanders might take action to deter the attack.

There has been a great deal of effort expended to clear the names of Admiral Kimmel and General Short and restore their highest rank. Their cases to this day have not been reversed.

In 2000, following great debate and a close vote along political lines, the US Senate passed a resolution saying that Short and Kimmel had performed their duties “competently and professionally” and that the Japanese attacks were “not a result of dereliction of duty.” The Department of Defense refuses to budge, and both men remain in their graves stripped of rank, their honor and integrity.

General Short retired early from the Army and died in 1949. Admiral Kimmel retired in March 1942. He died on May 14, 1958. Kimmel retired at the rank of rear admiral (two stars vice four), and Short at the rank of major general (two stars vice three).

What is so striking about all this is this “need for speed” to pin blame on someone in the military for dereliction of duty. Seeking evidence of dereliction of duty was the mandate of the investigation. In retrospect, it would seem that the number one priority would have been to go to war and win, and leave pinning blame later. The Japanese attacked. They are to blame. Furthermore, commissions cannot possibly do a good job investigating blame for this kind of thing, and certainly cannot do so this quickly. It took many years for historians trained in research to dig out and collate the facts. Their rendition is markedly different than that of the commission.

It takes time and professionals, not speed and politicians, to do this kind of thing.

The above was written around the time of the 9/11 commission.

If you desire to hear my views about Pearl Harbor, suffice it to say that Roosevelt was definitely playing power politics and manipulating people for Roosevelt’s ends, which was defeating Hitler and thus securing America from a European enemy. Such people have a certain arrogance, especially since this was the era in which reporters and others were fawning over the US President, not criticizing or attacking them like they do to Bush. That and combine the fact that Roosevelt had been in office for more than 2 terms, and you get a certain level of arrogance. The type of arrogance that believes the people at the top, like Roosevelt, are the best in position to make use of intelligence and consider its importance. Roosevelt didn’t have to deny Kimmel intelligence about Japanese bombs, all Roosevelt had to do was to consider the information meaningless and unimportant to be passed down to a hireling, and the same effect would have been achieved. Roosevelt didn’t need nor have the military experience to consider what needed to be done or what information a commander needed to know to defend Pearl. Thus incompetence and bureaucratic delay would be more likely an explanation of the President of the United States hamstringing his own military commanders at Pearl than intentional malice.

As I said before, I don’t believe Roosevelt was a nice man and if he had to sacrifice Kimmel and others, he would have. And he did. Roosevelt just didn’t, in my view, intend to sacrifice them from the very beginning. Roosevelt is very likely to have sat on the information for his own purposes, yes, but Roosevelt did not really intend for America to suffer a defeat. A possible scenario is that Roosevelt suspected and believed that certain decisions required more time and consideration before informing his commanders at Pearl about them. Time to Washington is not the same as time to people at the front lines, you know. Even a delay of a few days could have been critical to Kimmel’s ability to defend Pearl, since having information is not enough, you have to have time to make use of them. Fleet maneuvers and preparations aren’t carried out just because Washington demands them.

So, look at it this way. Roosevelt wanted to play power politics and force Japan into a situation where Japan will ask Germany to help Japan in fighting America. Thus giving Roosevelt the excuse to break his promise that America won’t become embroiled in Europe’s war… again. Roosevelt got some information about a possible attack and also probably assumed Japan was going to attack. Roosevelt based the fleet at Pearl, against the objections of a Pearl admiral Roosevelt then fired, assuming that it was close enough for the Japanese to be unable to occupy (and it was true), but far enough away at the front to respond should Japan attack Wake Island or another American military base/presence. Any such attacks would have sufficed for Roosevelt’s political ambitions. What this meant was that Roosevelt was micromanaging the fleet deployments of the Pacific for purposes only Roosevelt knew. Those that know what micromanagement does to command and control can surely understand the ramifications on Admiral Kimmel’s command of Washington maneuvers that were not in synch nor designed to be in synch with the efforts of the rest of their “team”. So even if Roosevelt didn’t “intend” to allow American sailors to be attacked and killed, his actions inevitably led to it. Because no matter how brilliant or powerful a President, he cannot control what happens on the battlefield once contact with the enemy is established. That is Rule #1 in warfare, no plan survives contact with the enemy. And it does not particularly matter whose plan it is, Roosevelt’s, Kimmel’s, or the Japanese’s.

Explore posts in the same categories: History, War

7 Comments on “Admiral Husband Kimmel and Pearl Harbor”

  1. TOM KIMMEL Says:

    I am a former naval officer, a retired FBI agent, the eldest grandson of Admiral Kimmel, and a Naval Academy student of Admiral Kimmel’s successor at Pearl Harbor, Admiral Nimitz.

    Admiral Nimitz’s apposite statement sums it up better than anyone ever has: “Admiral Kimmel had been given no information which would justify interrupting a very urgent training program.”
    » Admiral Nimitz, SEA POWER, 1960, p.650

    Admiral Kimmel requested that the Joint Congressional Committee call Admiral Nimitz as a witness. They refused.

    Some corrections and clarifications:
    1. Admiral Kimmel was FDR’s aide in 1918 for about two weeks when FDR visited the west coast.
    2. Admiral Kimmel’s book, ADMIRAL KIMMEL’S STORY, is not an “as told to” book–see http://www.rooseveltmyth.com/KimmelStory/ for a complete copy, and see my website, http://www.PearlHarbor911Attacks.com, for his 1962 update, FACTS ABOUT PEARL HARBOR.
    3. Admiral Kimmel deceased in 1968 not 1958.
    4. Admiral Kimmel did not retire to avoid court martial–he sought same, waived the statute of limitation, and was denied court martial.
    5. The notion that, “no evidence has ever been adduced to support [the] allegation [that FDR knew Pearl Harbor was going to be bombed]” is in error and misses the point. He knew we were going to be attacked somewhere on December 7th and warned no one. Again, see my website.

    Regards,
    Tom Kimmel
    TKIMMEL@CFL.RR.COM
    Kimmel website at: http://www.pearlharbor911attacks.com/

  2. ymarsakar Says:

    2. I don’t know what you mean by “as told to”, but I already included that link from rooseveltmyth.com in my post.

    3. The two sources I quoted had different takes. While I noticed that, I just left it as it is. One said he died in the 60s and retired in the 50s, the other one was a blog post concerning 9/11 commissions.

    Thanks for the info, Tom.

  3. Lewellyn Says:

    The blame belong on the solder of FDR and the people
    around him

  4. Dennis Martin Says:

    I just finished reading Admiral Kimmel’s book, published in 1955 by the Henry Regnery Company. I am by no means a learned scholar nor a student of history maybe at best a history buff. But it certainly seems clear that information, no vital information was withheld from Admiral Kimmel and General Short which when acted upon would have produced a different outcome at Pearl. Yes war was inevitable and I forget where in Admiral Kimmel’s book, a reference made that Churchill desired help from Roosevelt to fight Japan in South east Asia. One can imagine England was militarily stretched both in Europe Africa and now Asia and dearly needed help. Where else could Roosevelt pick a fight to enter America into the war certainly not some place in Europe. Anyway, I can’t wait to get Admiral Robert Theobald’s book and read what he has to say about Kimmel the ‘scapegoat’. Oh and what I’d give to hear Admiral Richardson’s opinion of Roosevelt, Marshall, Knox, Stark and others in Washington. Maybe some other day or lifetime!

  5. ymarsakar Says:

    You don’t have to wait for history to hear those views, you can hear them now from General Mattis on Afghanistan concerning Obama the newly elected “Afghanistan is my war” president.

    History is always repeating itself. Namely, with the same political presidents.

  6. Social Says:

    Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this short
    article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and leaving comments.

    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    [EDIT: LInk removed, thanks though]

  7. Dr David Torrez Says:

    It is not relevant if Roosevelt witheld information from Admiral kimmel, it was kimell’s decision alone to allow the battleship fleet to be anchored in rows and vulnerable tomattack. Kimmel had enough information at hand to realize that war was on the horizon and he should have used his own good judgement to disperse his forces as a precautionary tactic.

    I am sorry that your relative has been found to be at fault, but he was a warrior and would not ask to be spared the responsibility of blame. Let it be. Fault lies where it should.

    David Torrez,,PhD
    Assistant professor
    Stanford University


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